Tag Archives: CGMP

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FSMA Supply Chain IQ Test (Part I)

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Food Safety Tech’s FSMA IQ test series continues with a two-part series that addresses supply chain considerations under FSMA. Once again, the test was put together by the subject matter experts at Kestrel Management, LLC. We invite you to take the 12-question test and then learn more about important supply chain issues at our Food Safety Supply Chain Conference, May 29–30. You can attend in person or virtually.

Results of Part I will be posted next week, at which point Part II will be available.

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Compliance, food safety

Preventive Controls for Animal Food: What Does this Mean to Pet Food and Feed Manufacturers?

By Debby L. Newslow, Erika Miller
Compliance, food safety

The Final Rule on Preventive Controls for Animal Food (21 CFR 507) was released in September 2015. The first compliance dates for CGMPs arrived in September 2016. All facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold animal food for consumption in the United States are required to comply (see Figure 1 information on compliance dates.) Non-compliance is considered a prohibited act, but nonetheless this rule has not received the same amount of press as its human food counterpart. We must begin to spread awareness, because this rule has the potential to fundamentally change the pet food and animal feed industries over the next four years. Unlike human foods, animal food is typically intended to be fed as a sole source of nutrients. Thus, the regulation is fairly comprehensive and strict.

Business Size CGMP Compliance Date PC Compliance Date
Business other than small and very small One year Two years
Small business (fewer than 500 full-time employees) Two years Three years
Very small business (averages less than $2.5 million per year, during the three-year period preceding the applicable calendar year in sales of animal food + market value of animal food manufactured, processed, packed or held without sale Three years Four years except for records to support its status as a very small business
(January 1, 2017)
Figure 1. Compliance dates for CGMPs and PCs for Animal Food (from fda.gov).

During the 2016 Food Safety Consortium, Debby Newslow and Erika Miller will instruct: FSPCA Preventive Controls for Animal Food (21CFR507) Training | REGISTER FOR THE WORKSHOPSimilar to the Preventive Controls for Human Food regulation (21 CFR 117), there are two parts to the Animal Food rule: Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) and Preventive Controls. Figure 2 provides more detail on the Subparts of the Regulation. Also, animal food covered by specific CGMP regulations must still comply with those regulations (specifically low-acid canned food and medicated feed).

Those who have taken a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) course will notice the remarkable similarity to the structure of the Human Food Rule. This is by design, for our animals are often a part of the family for whom we want to provide the highest level of quality and safety possible. That said, there is some overlap between the two regulations. For instance, when human food byproducts are diverted to use in pet food or animal feed, the human food CGMP rules apply to that food intended for use as animal food.

Subpart Topic
A General Provisions
B Current Good Manufacturing Practice
C Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls
D Withdrawal of Qualified Facility Redemption
E Supply Chain Program
F Requirements Applying to Records that Must Be Established and Maintained
Figure 2. Subparts of 21 CFR 507, Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals.

What Does this Regulation Mean for the Pet Food Industry?

Large companies that produce commercially available pet foods available in grocery stores and big box retailers (such as Pedigree, Iams, Nutro, Purina, etc.) are typically already compliant to a voluntary GFSI-approved food safety scheme (FSSC 22000, SQF, etc.). These companies already have most necessary processes in place to be compliant. There may be adjustments related to terminology, documentation, records and hazard analysis expansions to include mention of Preventive Controls.  However, most of the work has been completed already and only clarifications, in most instances, should be required.

However, there are many small “mom-and-pop” type establishments making niche pet food with high-quality, organic ingredients that may not have much knowledge about this regulation. These types of manufacturers want to make the best, safest, highest quality product they possibly can, but without knowledge and education, they may not know the questions to ask to point them in the right direction. When an inspector arrives and asks to see the written hazard analysis, even a high-quality niche processor may end up with the deer-in-the-headlights stare if they do not understand the question. This regulation has the potential to significantly impact their business, but in a small business most folks wear many hats, and it is not always possible to just jet away for a few days to attend a specialized training class.

It was indicated during our Lead Trainer course that FDA is developing a clear proactive approach to their inspections related to this rule. Our Lead Trainer courses also emphasized that the inspectors’ focus will be on the reasonably foreseeable hazards and potential hazards to ensure that each is in control. Control can be achieved through a Preventive Control or some other process, such as a GMP based pre-requisite program.

In order to be as effective and efficient as possible, it is critical that an organization understands the requirements of this regulation. For example, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) does not apply to food for animals, nor are there allergen provisions included in 21 CFR 507. Certainly there are specialty manufacturers that make special recipes for those pets that may have an allergy or sensitivity (i.e., wheat, rice, etc.); however, this is completely different than the required approach to allergens for the production of human food. The pet food or feed manufacturer is not bound by these restrictions. However, an uninformed processor may take it upon itself to redesign a label to include an allergen declaration assuming that requirements for human food also apply to them. This could result in a great expense for graphic design, reprinting, disposal and wasting of previously printed labels, and of course the time spent on the project.

Measuring effectiveness is one oft-overlooked part of a mature and robust food safety program. Even experienced managers sometimes overlook this crucial step, so it is unlikely that most people would be able to come up with the concept on their own without assistance. If a facility has a rule in place that people must wear gloves, but do not have the experience to train on proper glove use and the reasons gloves are worn, confusion and improper glove use will result. This results in the company wasting money on providing the gloves in the first place. No matter how conscientious a program is, it still requires effective programs for identifying and maintaining records. These provide evidence of compliance with the regulation. There must also be documents in place that define the operational requirements and explain how to demonstrate effectiveness.

Industry representatives also must fully understand how to distinguish between Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs), other prerequisite programs and preventive controls, and to determine where they fit into their operation and the regulatory framework. The logic used to determine whether a specified hazard is reasonably foreseeable is based on science, experience and education. There are different record-keeping requirements for different types of controls.

It is critical to the process to ensure that reliable resources are used to develop the foundation of the program. This is considered so important that the PCQI Preventive Control for Animal Food material references examples of credible resources in each chapter. Examples of these include trade associations, universities, industry-focused events, relevant informational emails and webinars. We have experienced first-hand that expanding a professional network using these types of resources increases the rate of attrition for knowledge when a sink-or-swim situation is presented.

Keep in mind that an operation must take an active role in defining, implementing and maintaining its food safety program. It is usually recommended that a consultant knowledgeable in your food sector be engaged to assist. However, the word of the day is “assist”.  If the consultant writes a turnkey program, then whose program is it? And better yet, where are they going to be when you are in an audit and can’t explain (justify) what is stated in the program?

FSMA, Food Safety Tech, FDA

FDA Sheds Light on FSMA’s Preventive Controls

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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FSMA, Food Safety Tech, FDA

Today, September 19, marks the first major FSMA compliance date. Larger companies (500 employees or more) must meet certain requirements of the Preventive Controls for Human Food final rule related to current good manufacturing practice requirements. In anticipation of the questions surrounding these requirements, FDA has released a Q&A with Joann Givens, co-chair of the FSMA Operations Team Steering Committee and director of the agency’s Food and Feed Program in the Office of Regulatory Affairs.

“We know that this is new territory for food companies; it’s new territory for us too. For years we’ve been talking about the FSMA rulemakings and our implementation plans,” says FDA’s Joanna Givens. “Now, an important compliance date is here for some companies. As we enter this new chapter, the FDA’s primary focus will continue to be on education, training and technical assistance to help companies comply with the new requirements.”

Dr. David Acheson is the Founder and CEO of The Acheson Group
Beltway Beat

Final Preventive Controls Rules – Devil in the Details?

By Dr. David Acheson, Melanie J. Neumann
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Dr. David Acheson is the Founder and CEO of The Acheson Group

As we review the general applications and requirements for the first two final rules of FSMA (Preventive Controls for Human Food and Preventive Controls for Animal Food), we’re not seeing a big departure from the proposed preventive controls. But with nearly 1,600 pages of reading, we may not have found all the changes yet. Areas of note include: For the first time in history, training is now a regulatory requirement; and a new definition for a “preventive controls qualified individual” that is separate and distinct from the “qualified individual” under the proposed rule. With further analysis of the rule to come, we fully anticipate the devil to be in the details.

In this first article on the final rules, we are pulling out the key points, providing a general perspective of the Preventive Controls for Human Food, and main elements and compliance dates for both Preventive Controls rules.

The Human Food Rule

FDA has emphasized that it has built more flexibility into key requirements of the Human Food rule, including giving facilities the flexibility to consider the nature of the preventive control, the facility, and the its food safety system when establishing the appropriate preventive control management strategies (e.g. monitoring, verification, validation, corrective action).  In addition, the definition of farms, which are exempt from these regulations, has significantly changed to reflect modern farming practices.

The agency views the rule as better protecting public health by adopting a modern, preventive, and risk-based approach to food safety regulation for the future in three key ways:

  1. It creates new requirements for facilities to establish and implement hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for human food.
  2. It modernizes FDA’s long-standing CGMP regulations, updating, revising, and otherwise clarifying certain CGMP requirements, which were last updated in 1986.
  3. It clarifies the scope of the exemption for “farms” and makes corresponding revisions to regulations for the establishment, maintenance and availability of records.

The rules generally apply to establishments that are required to register with FDA. Key elements of the rule are as follows:

  1. Facilities must implement a food safety system that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls, including a written food safety plan that integrates hazard analysis of known or reasonably foreseeable biological, chemical, and physical hazards; preventive controls for processes, food allergens, and sanitation, supply-chain controls and a recall plan; and oversight and management of preventive controls to include monitoring, corrective actions/corrections, and verification.
  2. The definition of a “farm” is clarified to cover two types of farm operations not subject to the preventive controls rule (however, farms that conduct activities covered by the Produce Safety rule are subject to that rule):
    • Primary Production Farm. An operation under one management in one general, but not necessarily contiguous, location devoted to the growing or harvesting of crops, the raising of animals (including seafood), or both. The final rule expands the definition to include facilities that pack or hold raw agricultural commodities grown on a farm under different ownership, and to those that solely harvest crops from farms.
    • Secondary Activities Farm. The operation is majority owned by the primary production farm but located separately and is devoted to harvesting, packing and/or holding raw agricultural commodities.
  3. A flexible supply-chain program with separate compliance dates. In general, a manufacturing/processing facility must implement a risk-based supply chain program for raw materials/ingredients for which it has identified a hazard requiring a supply-chain applied control – unless it or its customer controls the hazard using preventive controls according to the preventive controls rules.
  4. Updated and clarified Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs). In addition, some previously nonbinding provisions have become binding rules.
  5. A new “Qualified Individual” aka the “preventive controls qualified Individual.” This is a more highly qualified position/level in the organization with responsibility to perform the hazard analysis and assign preventive controls, defined under the rule as “a person who has successfully completed training in the development and application of risk-based preventive controls at least equivalent to that received under a standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the FDA or is otherwise qualified through job experience to develop and apply a food safety system.” The qualified individual is based on education/training as applied to the individual’s assigned job duties—with the assumption that each individual will be a “qualified individual” for his/her assigned role.
  6. Training is a requirement. Foremost is the training required for the preventive controls qualified individual and qualified individuals. Further training may be required under Proposed §117.135(c)(6)–Other Controls, which proposes that preventive controls include any other procedures, practices, and processes necessary to satisfy the requirements of §117.135(a).

The Animal Food Rule

In addition to key elements similar to #1–3 of Human Food (above), this rule:

  1. Establishes CGMPs for animal food production by which facilities that further process a by-product for use as animal food must do so in compliance with CGMPs, but can follow either the human food or animal food CGMPs.
  2. Does not apply to feed mills associated with fully vertically integrated farming operations that generally meet the definition of a farm. However, because FDA expressed concern that this leaves a food safety gap, it plans to publish a proposed rule in the future to require that some feed mill operations implement the CGMPs established by the Preventive Controls for Animal Food rule.
FSMA, Food Safety Tech, FDA

FSMA Rules for Preventive Controls Finalized

By Maria Fontanazza
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FSMA, Food Safety Tech, FDA

More than a week after being submitted to the Federal Register, the rules for preventive controls for human food and animal feed have been finalized.

The Current Good Manufacturing Practice Hazard Analysis and Risk Based Preventive Controls for Human Food final rule includes the following key requirements:

  • Covered facilities must establish and implement a food safety system with a written food safety plan that includes hazard analysis, preventive controls, and the oversight and management of preventive controls (this encompasses monitoring, corrective actions and verification).
  • The “farm” definition has been clarified to include two types of farm operations, primary production farm and secondary activities farm. Such farms that conduct produce activities will also have to comply with the Produce Safety Rule (to be finalized at the end of October).
  • A more flexible supply chain program, with separate compliance dates.
  • Update and clarification to CGMPs.

This year’s Food Safety Consortium conference will feature first-hand perspectives from FDA and USDA on FSMA implementation and enforcement. REGISTER NOWCompliance dates range between one and three years depending on the size and type of business. Several guidance documents will be created by FDA in an effort to further help companies with compliance, including on hazard analysis and preventive controls, environmental monitoring, food allergen controls, and the validation of process controls.

The Federal Register will publish the 930-page document on September 17. In the meantime, the pre-publication version can be viewed here.

The Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals final rule includes the below key requirements:

  • CGMPs established for the production of animal food, taking into account the diverse types of animal food facilities.
  • Covered facilities must establish and implement a food safety system with a written food safety plan that includes hazard analysis, preventive controls, the oversight and management of preventive controls (this encompasses monitoring, corrective actions and verification), and a recall plan.
  • A more flexible supply chain program, with separate compliance dates.
  • The “farm” definition has been clarified to include two types of farm operations, primary production farm and secondary activities farm.
  • Feed mills associated with farms (vertically integrated operations) are not covered.

As with the preventive controls for human food, FDA will be creating guidance documents that address CGMP requirements, hazard analysis and preventive controls, human food by-products for use as animal food, and a small-entity compliance guide.

The Federal Register will also publish this 666-page document on September 17. The pre-publication version can be viewed here.

At this year’s Food Safety Consortium Conference, the industry will have the opportunity to hear directly from FDA and USDA on what companies need to know to be FSMA compliant and how the agency will be enforcing the regulation. Michael Taylor, JD, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at FDA, will delivery the opening plenary presentation, which will be followed by an “Ask the FDA” Q&A town hall meeting.

Top 6 Best Practices for Your Allergen Control Program

Undeclared allergens are the cause of a great number of recalls in the United States, causing significant consumer health issues, scrap costs, and sourcing conundrums. Under FSMA, good manufacturing practices are undergoing revisions, and the one area that has gotten the most attention is allergen control.

Undeclared allergens were responsible for the greatest number of recalls in the United States in 2013, causing significant consumer health issues, scrap costs, and sourcing conundrums. Under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), good manufacturing practices (GMPs) are undergoing revisions — and the one area that has gotten the most attention is allergen control. Under the new GMPs, an emphasis has been put on facilities to have an allergen control program.

Further, 15 million Americans and 17 million Europeans have documented food allergies. According to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food allergies have increased by 50 percent among children from 1997 to 2011; and hospital admissions for severe reactions have increased seven-fold in Europe over the past decade, according to the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

FSMA’s Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food has two major features–provisions requiring hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls, and revisions to the existing Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) requirements found in 21 CFR part 110. Included within these revisions is the requirement that each covered facility prepare and implement a written food safety plan, which includes a hazard analysis, preventive controls (e.g., process controls, food allergen controls, sanitation controls, and recall plan), monitoring procedures, corrective actions, verification activities, and recordkeeping.

Allergen Control Programs are multifaceted with elements ranging from ingredient supplier verification, storage, scheduling, formula and rework control, sanitation and changeovers, and label verification.

In essence, there are two main goals of an allergen control program, which appear simple on paper, but are very difficult to execute.

  • Goal #1: If you make a product with an allergen in it, you need to make sure that the allergen is declared on the label.
  • Goal #2: If you make a product that is NOT supposed to have a specific allergen in it, you need to do everything possible to prevent cross-contact.

So how can you make the most of your Allergen Control Program? Use these 6 Best Practices in this e-book, co-produced by TraceGains Inc. and AIB International. Click here to download.